Publication - FOI/EIR release

Meetings and correspondence with Leader of Glasgow City Council: FOI release

Published: 19 Jul 2019

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
19 Jul 2019
Meetings and correspondence with Leader of Glasgow City Council: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/01497
Date received: 20 Jun 2019
Date responded: 17 Jul 2019
Information requested
1. A list of all meetings Ministers have held with the Leader of Glasgow City Council since May 2017.
2. The minutes of meetings between Ministers and the Leader of Glasgow City Council since May 2017.
3. Correspondence between the First Minister and the Leader of Glasgow City Council since May 2017.
4. Correspondence between the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work and the Leader of Glasgow City Council since May 2017.
 
Response

I enclose a copy of most of the information you requested. 

The answer to your question regarding meetings held between Ministers and the Leader of Glasgow Council since May 2017 is that the following meetings were held with:  

First Minister/ Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work on 08/08/2017; 

Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning on 25/09/2017; 

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government on 31/07/2018; 

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government on 06/08/2018; 

Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning on 07/08/2018; 

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work on 28/08/2018; 

Minister for Children and Young People on 31/08/2018; 

Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning on 04/09/2018; 

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work on 26/10/2018; 

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity on 30/01/2019; 

Cabinet Secretary for Justice on 25/04/2019; and 

Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations on 21/05/2019 

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. In some cases this is because there were no agendas, minutes or briefings prepared for some meetings. In any case there is no requirement for minutes to be taken at all Scottish Government meetings. This is entirely in line with normal practice across the UK Civil Service. Where such records were held Ministerial Offices do not retain records beyond 3 months, in accordance with our standard records management practice. Minutes have been provided where copies are still held elsewhere in the Government. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. 

We are also unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under sections s. 29(1) (a) (formulation or development of government policy) and s.30 (b) (ii) (free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation) of FOISA applies to that information.  The reasons why that exemption(s) applies are explained in the Annex to this letter.

 

ANNEX

REASONS FOR NOT PROVIDING INFORMATION 

The Scottish Government does not have the information 

Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have the information you requested.  The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because it has been destroyed under normal document retention procedures or does not otherwise exist.  

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.  

An exemption applies 

Exemptions under sections s. 29(1) (a) (formulation or development of government policy and s.30 (b) (ii) (free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation) of FOISA apply to some of the information you have requested.   

An exemption under section 29(1) (a) of FOISA (formulation or development of government policy) applies to some of the information requested because it relates to the development of the Scottish Government’s policy on asylum.   

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’.  Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.  We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption.  We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate.  However, there is a greater public interest in high quality policy and decision-making, and in the properly considered implementation and development of policies and decisions.  This means that Ministers and officials need to be able to consider all available options and to debate those rigorously, to fully understand their possible implications.  Their candour in doing so will be affected by their assessment of whether the discussions will be disclosed in the near future, when it may undermine or constrain the Government’s view on that policy while it is still under discussion and development. 

An exemption under section 30(b) (ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) applies to some of the information requested.  This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.  This exemption recognises the need for Ministers to have a private space within which to discuss issues and options with external stakeholders.  Disclosing the content of these discussions with Cllr Aitken will substantially inhibit such discussions in the future, because these stakeholders will be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that those views are likely to be made public, particularly while these discussions relate to a sensitive issue.  

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’.  Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.  We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption.  We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in allowing Ministers and officials a private space within which to communicate with appropriate external stakeholders as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s position. There is also an important public interest in avoiding the loss of stakeholder confidence in cases where they thought they were providing comments in confidence.

 

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Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
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